Category Archives: Leadership

Sunday Reflection – Father’s Day & Fathering

https://debmillswriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2007-Feb-Dave-Boys.jpg

[Adapted from the Archives]

We all have fathers – whether very present, present but distant, or long-time absent. Some of you may be fathers. Some of you may have wanted to be fathers but are not able to be…for whatever reasons.

This day of commemoration usually means a good meal and some sort of gifting or pampering for you dads. For all of you, with or without children, you can be influencers…and we need you. My biological father was absent long before my parents divorced.

Thankfully I have had a rich heritage of good fathers through the rest of my life – my step-dad, brothers, uncles, husband, father-in-law, son/son-in-law, brother-in-law, nephews, and loving, empowering male friends and colleagues. Most of these good fathers in my life were spiritual fathers…but fathers nonetheless.

The father of my own children used to travel with his work. He and I had a parting ritual. He runs through the “in case something happens” list [let me know if you want particulars of that – it is helpful to know]. Then, we did sort of a “Thanks for marrying me” farewell…and finally that wonderful, “If I don’t see you here, I’ll see you THERE.” When this man wasn’t present with us, he still was.

Fathering, like mothering, is not an easy job. So much dying to self. So much responsibility. What a delight for us when the men in our lives take fathering on their shoulders as they might a sleeping child. Surrendering themselves to the serving of those younger than them. I thank God for men who humble themselves in prayer for their children and who go to work every day to support their families. Working, studying, and life-long learning passed on to their children and others.

Photo Credit: Calvin & Hobbs from the blog of Kenneth Reeds

These dads are too-often taken for granted in the shadow of fathering that falls short. The absent, neglectful and downright abusive fathers cut wounds so deep that decent fathers are sometimes judged by the same measure. We watch for “the sins of the fathers to be revisited on their children” (Numbers 14:18).

Today, let’s reflect on the good fathers. Those who were present at our births, or those who came later in life to us, or those who father us out of their own great hearts. Imperfect, sure. All of us are. Yet, there are those men who go many more than second miles for us, and we are grateful. – Deb Mills

…and finally let’s live in hope that those fathers who struggle to be present or loving may one day gather themselves together, awaken to what was left behind, and reach out to the treasures they missed along the way…and may they find us within reach.

The Father I Never Knew on Father’s Day – Deb Mills Writer

Fathering – Celebrating Men Who Did It Well; Forgiving Men Who Didn’t – Deb Mills Writer

“As to my children, you are now to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you.”Jonathan Edwards, his last words to his children, as he lay dying

Traveling Man – Somewhere Between Here, There, & Home – Deb Mills Writer

Blog - Father's Day - B. C. comic

Photo Credit: B. C. Comics

Monday Morning Moment – Henri Nouwen on Leadership

Photo Credit: Henri J. M. Nouwen, In Jesus’ Name, QuoteFancy

What can we learn about leadership from a priest? A priest who spent his potentially most influential years as pastor of L’Arche – a community for mentally handicapped persons? What? Plenty!

Henri J. M. Nouwen was a renowned scholar, writer, professor, and a Dutch Catholic priest. He taught for many years at such prestigious universities as Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard. His writings were prolific and his personality was winsome.

Whether you are Christian or not, you will profit from the tiny book (81 pages) he wrote on leadership – “In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership”. I read this book yesterday afternoon and was spellbound by his wisdom. Having read many texts on leadership over the years, both secular and Christian, I was captivated by Nouwen’s take on leadership…and his willingness to confront the pitfalls that can occur along the way. In a clear and succinct way, he exposed the temptations we have in leading others and the way we can extinguish them through applying certain disciplines or habits.

Nouwen points out three temptations leaders are apt to succumb to, and then he offers three disciplines to counter (and gain freedom from) them. Christian readers, you will appreciate his direction. He refers to Scripture for his teaching – two passages in particular: 1) Jesus’ questioning a repentant Peter after he had denied the Lord three times (John 21:15-19), and 2) the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). I will list the temptations below and examples from my own life where they crept in:

  1. To Be Relevant – In recent years this has actually been a longing of mine, before the Lord. After retiring from a full and satisfying ministry life, with all our children grown and on their own, my days got very quiet. I didn’t know what to do with them. The calls to join this team or lead that work just didn’t come in. Somehow I had made relevance an idol. Thankfully God was working away at that temptation in my life. He is still at work, because I still struggle…but not like before. Earlier today, I was sitting in the waiting room while an Afghan grandmother in my care was having dental work done. It’s been my least favorite activity on the refugee resettlement team of our church. The appointments are three hours long (for the dental students’ learning), and even with books, phone, and hallways to do steps, I bristled at times at the servitude of this activity. After reading Nouwen’s book, he pointed the way to resist. Contemplative prayer is the answer. Recognizing that I don’t need to be going here or there because it is I who am needed in those situations. To use the time of seeming irrelevance to participate in a grander work than I could have ever imagined. To simply be, humbled and grateful, with God, and to have a quiet many would love to know. To remember that the work, whatever it is, came from Him to begin with. I don’t own work, or ministry, or service of any kind. It is an opportunity to show up for a greater good, in a quieter state, where I am surrendered, making myself available, to love others more than myself – “in the name of Jesus”.

“I’m telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love…God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”Henri Nouwen

2. To Be Popular (Spectacular even)What a temptation this is. It is stealthy. We sometimes aren’t even aware that we experience it. Until we are. Sigh… Leadership lends itself to singular popularity (even in situations where people love to hate you…it’s still a superlative position of a sort). When we rise through the ranks, through experience mixed with education, it can be a very individualistic journey. “Lonely at the top”. However, there is a head trip attached where we become prone to thinking that we are the ones to call, or to consult, or to give opinion, or have the last decision. This temptation to want to be “the one” is fortunately tempered by doing work/life/church in community. By taking someone along. By sharing decision-making. By including those most affected in the conversation. Making room around the table. Nouwen, in regards to this temptation, calls the reader to Confession and Forgiveness. When is the last time you heard a leader confess a weakness or struggle? When did she or he ask forgiveness for a decision that turned out poorly or for a moral failure exposed? Being willing to remove the cape of the hero, and step off the pedestal, takes a humility that allows for, mutual confession and forgiveness within the larger community.

3. To Be Powerful – What a temptation!! To believe that we could actually have power over other people’s lives. To be in a position of making sweeping decisions with little restraint. To be surrounded by those who (dealing with their own temptations) would go along with the decisions out of their own need for popularity and power. It’s messed-up. In fact, what we think is our leading is really being led (by our own preferences, or the pressures of that vaunted position). What’s the solution? Now, each of these temptations so far has had a spiritual response – prayer, confession and forgiveness. What is the way forward when power has taken the driver’s seat? Theological Reflection. Nouwen is NOT talking about the answers that may be debated in the seminary classroom. It goes far deeper…to actually look for the truth in the background…and seeking to act on what is true…not for the sake of relevance or popularity or to hold onto power.

“Christian leaders have the arduous task of responding to personal struggles, family conflicts, national calamities, and international tensions with an articulate faith in God’s real presence. They have to say ‘no’ to every form of fatalism, defeatism, accidentalism or incidentalism which make people believe that statistics are telling us the truth. They have to say ‘no’ to every form of despair in which human life is seen as a pure matter of good or bad luck. They have to say ‘no’ to sentimental attempts to make people develop a spirit of resignation or stoic indifference in the face of the unavoidability of pain, suffering, and death…Theological reflection is reflecting on the painful and joyful realities of every day with the mind of Jesus and thereby raising human consciousness to the knowledge of God’s gentle guidance.” Henri Nouwen

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Henri Nouwen left the lofty academic environment to join in community with those who would not incline to be impressed with his credentials. Yet, in the setting of L’Arche, Nouwen dug deep into how to lead in gentler and more loving ways, with the example of the life of Jesus, and the nearness of God and community.

The beauty of his life laid down has given me pause to look differently at leadership and the possibility of being led…by a God who loves us first, in servant mode, in community with others…in the name of Jesus.

YouTube Video – Remembering Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)

In the Name of Jesus – Summary – Chuck Olson

Monday Morning Moment – Withholding – When It Goes Way Past Boundaries Into Downright Meanness

Photo Credit: Marshall B. Rosenberg, Quote Fancy

This has been days in the writing. When I saw the quote below just scrolling through Instagram, it stopped me in my tracks. Withholding (as defined here) goes way past “not knowing what to say” or “placing boundaries” or any measure of shyness or introversion. Withholding is actually an act of aggression…a display of power. One in which any of us can find ourselves if we don’t practicing checking our hearts or intentions regarding certain people or situations.

Photo Credit: Covenantal Relationships, Instagram

My Mom was the most significant influence in my life growing up. Now, I didn’t have the vocabulary for a lot of what she taught me, in word and deed, until recent years. Much of what she modeled came through her love of Scripture. She wasn’t a practicing Christian in my early childhood, but still she had made some decisions as a young person (while churched or otherwise influenced) that she practiced throughout her life. She became more mature and even more compassionate in these rules of life as she patterned her life more and more like Jesus.

I said all this to say that she was the opposite of a withholding sort of person. Even as an introvert.

Maybe growing up in a home with an alcoholic father and a timid mother influenced her willingness to show up for people – her brothers, her friends, her children, and strangers she met day-to-day. She did not withhold herself from others – all sorts of others – and it made for a beautiful life. This from a woman who worked full-time, raised four kids, and dealt with a cancer that would take her life too soon. Well, it didn’t take her life. Her life was finished at 75 to the glory of God. Even in her last hours and experiencing pain and increasing weakness, she was encouraging all of us around her. She even woke up from a coma that had silenced her to say “I love you” in response to one of her little grandchildren’s goodbyes to her.

This woman. Now you can understand why this issue of withholding feels so wrong to me. I understand people needing boundaries in toxic relationships, however, the practice of withholding can take boundaries up several notches. This probably isn’t a winsome topic because we don’t think what we’re doing is mean-spirited…it’s just because we are busy, or shy, or can’t do one more thing, or (fill in the reason).

Withholding can have different faces depending on what our intent or inclination is. It can be withholding of:

  • Time, attention, helps, favor.
  • Information, encouragement, welcome.
  • Food, possessions, recreation, experiences.
  • People (children, friends, family members).
  • Finances, job opportunities, training/equipping, inclusion.

We have all experienced withholding – either as the one holding out on others or the one experiencing that neglect (whether intended personally or just in the wake of not being chosen for any of the above).

What do we do with this issue? If you’re reading this, you are already on the path to solutions. Those who don’t read this sort of piece don’t see this as a problem. Certainly, none of us are necessarily entitled to whatever is sensed as being withheld. However, if we don’t want to be on the giving end of withholding, we can note it and practice the opposite – a humility, intentionality, watchfulness, and graciousness can move us toward an openness and willingness to be there, even when others are not.

Parenting is a long season where withholding can become a habit – when we as parents get exasperated with our children’s choices and when we are shaken in our sense of who we are and how we’re doing. An example is well-communicated below by Youth Dynamics of Montana. If we have struggled with parenting or have been harmed by our own parents’ withholding, our temptation is to extend that same experience back, over time, either with our kids or our parents.

Do we really want that to become our practice?

Photo Credit: Youth Dynamics of Montana, Instagram

For me, it’s a daily battle to be like my Mom, but one I want to come out winning, or at least fighting. To be that person who works to catch the eye of people, to engage and encourage, to be courteous and deferent, to include, to give where there is opportunity, to serve when I know I can, to share information that would help, to let people in and to show up for others. All of this models good for our children and is a blessing to those around us. Choosing not to withhold myself, my people, and my resources by tightly circling the wagons.

There’s a great call to action by the Prophet Isaiah on what can happen (if I could interject) when we don’t withhold. When we show up, God shows up in exponentially greater ways. Is that your experience?

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert…
Isaiah 35:3-6

5 Withholding Tactics Malignant Narcissists and Psychopaths Use To Torment You – Shahida Arabi, MA

What Emotional Withholding Looks Like And How To Handle It In Relationships – Row Light

Why Punishing a Child by Withholding Affection is Wrong – W. R. Cummings

Withholding: A Dangerous Saboteur of Love – That Immobilization Some Feel Under Stress Can Become Withholding Behavior. – Randi Gunther Ph.D.

To Say the Least: Where Deceptively Withholding Information Ends and Lying Begins – Marta Dynel – a highly scholarly (but very readable!), totally fascinating article on this topic

Monday Morning Moment – A Place for You – Deb Mills

Inner Circles – the Mad Pursuit of Position, Power, Prominence, and Plenty – Deb Mills

Monday Morning Moment – Considering Others – the Wawa Experience – Deb Mills

Monday Morning Moment – The 6 Sacrifices of Leadership – in Memory of Clyde Meador

Photo Credit: GOBNM

10 years writing this blog. I started 10 years ago this very month. The reason, in particular, was because I felt my memory clouding some, and there were memories and counsel I wanted to make sure were left for my children. As writing does, the blog cut its course through many topics – God, life, marriage, parenting, beauty, friendship, work, meaning, purpose, and reflections of all sorts. Now 10 years out, my memory is still hanging in there, and for that I’m thankful. Also for the having of words to share with those I love.

Our friend Clyde Meador started a blog himself 3 years ago this month. He may have had similar hopes – to leave something for his children and for the sake of a greater work.

Leadership was a topic that I studied for years (posting in my Monday Morning Moment). I learned so much from great leaders in my life, as well as some leaders who could have used some mentoring by our friend Clyde. That may not have been kind, but good leaders matter – in our lives and in the futures of organizations.

Photo Credit: Facebook, Stephen White, 2017 [Clyde and his beloved wife, Elaine]

In the first year of Clyde’s blog, he wrote a series of posts entitled 6 Sacrifices of Leadership. The topics were:

  • Loss of Constant Firsthand Involvement
  • Too Much Negative Knowledge
  • Constant Criticism
  • Leaving
  • Sacrifice, Isolation, Ostracism
  • Impact on Family Ties Due to Travel and Workload

Take the time to study those posts to learn from Clyde. In a recent tribute to him, a friend and colleague, Charles Clark wrote a brief summary of Clyde’s six sacrifices, their dangers and rewards. You find them in the image below:

Photo Credit: Clyde Meador from Charles Clark’s Facebook page, May 2024

In April 2024, Clyde Meador, this wise, humble, and insightful leader friend of ours, died, at 70 years of age. Complications of a long battle with cancer. He leaves a big hole, for his family, but also for the many people who have known him and loved him through the years. However, he would say something along the lines of God doesn’t leave holes.

We all have stories with Clyde in them – his lessons on life and leading. His legacy is that he never wavered in his faith walk, his love for his family, or his determination to do excellence in the work God had given him. He and Elaine have been a picture of constancy in our lives. Leading and loving.

In July of 2023, life and cancer treatment got in the way of Clyde continuing his blog. What turned out to be his last blog is so appropriate and beautiful. “To Those Who Come After Us”. Here are the last paragraphs.

“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”  (Psalm 89:1, ESV)  “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.”  (Psalm 78:4, ESV)  This commitment of faithful followers of the Lord must be our commitment, also.

“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”  (Psalm 71:18, ESV)  I am grateful that I have reached old age and gray hair, and pray that I will faithfully do all I can to communicate the truth of the Gospel to those who come after me.

Of all those things which we teach our children and those who come after them, nothing is more important, more urgent than the truth of the Gospel.  I have a less-than-perfect record of success in this endeavor, yet I seek to faithfully persist in sharing the Truth.  I challenge each of us to a major focus on sharing all we know about our Lord and Savior with the next generations! – Clyde Meador, To Those Who Come After Us

[Dave & Clyde, a few weeks before Clyde went to be with the Lord. So grateful. What a humble and wise mentor he was to so many.]

Monday Morning Moment – “What If You’re Wrong”

Photo Credit: Unsplash

What just happened? When you read the title “What If You’re Wrong”, was there a reaction in mind or body? If I had written “What If I’m Wrong”, it would have been far less provocative, right? Clearly, it’s possible for me to be wrong on many things. Not just possible but actual. I am most probably wrong on a number of things, either out of ignorance, preference, a lack of understanding, or neglect of the truth.

Is there a way we can talk about the stuff that matters to us with people who care about very different sorts of things? People who strongly disagree. People who are sure they are right, when we are also sure that we are…and they are wrong.

Below you’ll find an old video of a Richard Dawkins lecture at a Virginia university. He took questions from the floor, and one very brave, if not naive, student asked him “What if you’re wrong?” His answer, or non-answer but more repartee, was clearly one he had fashioned for just that question. Have a listen.

The lecture must have had to do with the existence of God, and Dr. Dawkins, though once a “Christian” is now an atheist. His response to the student was condescending, dismissive, and unkind. Oddly, his reasoning fell along the same lines as a 16y/o Muslim student in my World Religions class in Morocco. My student surmised that people followed the religion of their parents. Yet, here, Dr. Dawkins disproved what he said himself by leaving the Christian faith for atheism. In the video, maybe he considered disrespectful the student asking the question, therefore, he responded with mirrored disrespect. Who knows?

This is what I’m wanting to know. Can people engage each other with curiosity, care, and consideration (hope you don’t mind alliteration)…when they are at opposite ends of a worldview or belief system?

The key is those 3 c-words above. If I truly want to understand the position of another person, hopefully that can be communicated in such a way that engenders an openness. If that person knows I truly care about him/her, maybe they would be willing to trust me with such a conversation. If they knew my desire is to take into consideration how they came to their conclusions, maybe they would risk digging down into their reasoning. No judgment. On either side.

That would be amazing.

Writer, creator Adam Dachis posted a helpful piece for Lifehacker.

How to Know When You’re Wrong (and What You Can Do About It) – Adam Dachis

  1. Common Denominator – Find It. What might the continuing point of contention between you? Find that “button” that always gets pushed and choose together to find a way for it not to be the confounding issue.
  2. Considering What’s Right – Convictions & Outcomes When you analyze your positions (convictions), it is possible to consider which would lead to a better outcome. This is a growth point toward understanding if not change.
  3. Changing Someone Else’s Behavior – Shouldn’t Be the Goal. – Trying to change the other person’s opinion or worldview can’t be the goal. They are in control there, but you can change something about your own behavior toward them or the situation. This approach is not about people-pleasing but about defusing and deescalating. The goal has to be relationship, or why bother?
  4. Consult the Facts. We tend to focus on and be influenced by information that aligns with how we think, not even considering that the information might be wrong. If one of us considers the other wrong, the temptation is to attack (if I am the one feeling right or feeling wrong, the default is to become defensive and tempted to attack). Listen to the other side. Be tuned into what you are feeling as well. Stay in the conversation. Treat yourself and the other person with compassion. The goal is understanding.

Gustavo Razzetti, a work culture design consultant, writes about the difference between the soldier mindset and the scout mindset in dealing with conflicting worldviews:

“The soldier mindset is rooted in the need to defend ourselves. The pressure to be right elevates our adrenaline—we experience a fight-or-flight response.

A more curious mindset is that of the scout—this role is about understanding, not defending our beliefs. The scout goes out, maps the terrain, and identifies the real challenge—he wants to know what’s really there.

The mindset you choose affects your judgment, analysis, and decision-making.

The soldier mindset is rooted in emotions like aggression and tribalism. The scout mindset is rooted in curiosity—it’s about the pleasure of learning new things, being intrigued when new facts contradict our beliefs, and not feeling weak about changing our mind.

Above all, scouts are grounded—their self-worth isn’t tied to how right or wrong they are.” – Gustavo Razzetti, “What If You’re the One Who’s Wrong”

I lived for many years in countries where the majority religion was not my own. Local friends would at some point or other ask me the “right or wrong” sort of question… “Why wouldn’t I consider their religion?” I treated that question with the care I had for those friends. In fact, I have a document on my computer where I considered all their tenets of faith and what kept me from becoming a follower of their religion. What was right for them was wrong for me.

However, the most beautiful experience of those “What if you’re wrong” scenarios was what happened with my dearest local friends. Without knowing the concept at the time, we determined to make each other feel “seen, soothed, safe, and secure”. Although my own faith (especially my belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord) would not be altered, these friends mattered deeply to me. We reconciled our differences in faith through the depth of our friendship. If one had to be considered right and the other wrong, we would still love each other. Period. Full-stop.

One Small Step – StoryCorps

Winsomeness, Wisdom, and the Way of Jesus: A Few Reflections on Christ and Culture From John 6 – David S. Schrock

Photo Credit: Reddit

5 Friday Faves – Beyond the Guitar, Walking Her Home, Post-Traumatic Growth, Breaking Out of Negative Thinking, and Spring

1) Beyond the Guitar – It’s been awhile since I’ve posted Friday Faves, but rest assured #1 of my weekly round-down hasn’t changed. Nathan at Beyond the Guitar continues to make beautiful music. He also teaches through his arranging academy, practice club, etc.

YouTube Video – This fingerstyle Riff is What Sunshine Sounds Like – Beyond the Guitar

Below you’ll find a couple of his most recent videos as he showcases two different guitars. Beautiful!

His short videos (with film and video game clips attached) are so much fun and emotionally satisfying (why go to TikTok when you can just hang on his channel? Just scroll down his YouTube channel to Shorts).

Something about Nathan you might not know if you don’t follow him on Instagram is that he has also become a personal trainer in the field of health/fitness, mental/spiritual disciplines, and all the stuff of being a guy out there (family, work, habits, and disciplines). For his music, you know where to go. For this sort of inspiration, head over to his Instagram account.

Photo Credit: Nathan Mills, Instagram
Photo Credit: Nathan Mills, Instagram

2) Walking Her Home – This has been a super sentimental week for me. Some health issues, family stuff, and friends going through hard times. When I came across the UNC Clef Hangers video (seen many times before), it has hung in the air for me.

The song Walking Her Home recounts the story of a 60-year relationship. From first date until the elderly wife was dying. Whew! So beautiful.

Dave and I have our 40th wedding anniversary later this year, and this sweet lyric brings back such memories of our own life together. All the beautiful not dimmed by the hard. In fact, only made more beautiful by staying and waiting out (praying out) the hard together. Not everyone gets that opportunity, sadly. Just let me share this song…may it encourage you about your own relationships whatever they are.

Photo Credit: Conexus Counseling, Mark Schultz

Taking that song and its life message further, we all have the opportunity to truly see each other…care for each other…and walk each other home.

Walking Each Other Home – Making a Difference in a Beautiful Way – Ramona McKean – don’t miss this.

Photo Credit: Ramona McKean, Ram Dass

3) Post-traumatic Growth – We have all heard much spoken and written about post-traumatic stress (PTSD). Just in recent months have I heard the concept of post-traumatic growth. An internet search yields much on this topic. Post-traumatic growth is defined as “the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises”.

Photo Credit: CalmSage

This sort of growth can happen when we recognize that we don’t have to be forever victimized by the trauma we’ve experienced, as children or adults. There is a way forward.

I’m only mentioning it briefly here, but if you have experienced this sort of growth post-trauma, and you feel comfortable to talk about it, please use the Comments section to share some of what happened.

Photo Credit: Echo Training

What Are the 5 Stages of Post-Traumatic Growth? How to Get Started? – Kirti Bhati

The Promise of Post-Traumatic Growth – Part 2 – Echo Training

The Complicated Truth About Post-Traumatic Growth – David Robson

Sometimes what stands in opposition to our growth is the person or persons unwilling to let go of the past. Maybe our PTSD relates to being the victim of trauma. Other times, however, we struggle to get out of the past because of harm we ourselves have caused. Even when we have owned our part, asked forgiveness, made whatever restitution we could…the past won’t always go away.

Writer/speaker Ashley Alford writes about this poignantly. Below you’ll find a bit of her take on it:

Kicking ash is what they’re doing.

Standing in the middle of the ashy remainder of what you once did.

The soot of who you once were.

The smoke of who you used to be.

They’re standing in the middle of an old story…one they don’t like to let go of.

One that still tries to burn with reminders of the licking flames of your shame.

They kick the mess around you hoping to stir up the old accusations…

Hoping to reignite the sparks of something that God himself put out…

They can run the ashes of that fire through their fingers all they want…

But they’ll never know the pain it took for you to heal from those burns.

They’ll never know the raw ache of fresh wounds straight from hell.

Not like Jesus does.

They weren’t there when He bandaged you at that altar.

They weren’t there when he breathed life back into you again on that closet floor.

So let them kick ash and stir up the soot of that life and lie you used to host.

And remember when they mock you…They’re mocking the Holy Ghost.

Because they can tell tales of the fire that almost consumed you and they can backstab and stare…

But it would do them good to remember that just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…

You weren’t alone in there.

Photo Credit: Facebook, Honestly Ashley

“Kicking Ash Is What They’re Doing” – Honestly, Ashley – Facebook

4) Breaking Out of Negative Thinking – I first wrote about negative thinking five years ago (that blog linked below). Since then we have come through COVID 2020, great racial unrest and social upheaval, contentious election cycles, ongoing wars, and a downturn in our economy. Lots to think negatively about with good reason, but if we’re not careful we will begin gearing our thinking in that direction to the detriment of our mental and relational health.

Monday Morning Moment – Rewiring Your Brain Toward Thinking in the Positive – Deb Mills

Photo Credit: Daily Health Post

The team at Daily Health Post focused on complaining as a culprit that can actually cause our brains to default to anxiety and depression. From experience, I know this is true. Check out the article below:

How Complaining Physically Rewires Your Brain to Be Anxious and Depressed

Photo Credit: Frank Sonnenberg Online

Why Your Brain is Wired for Pessimism—and What You Can Do to Fix It – Clay Skipper

Before leaving this topic, I want to point to the article below which champions negative emotions as a sometime benefit. We learn from regrets, and sadness is telling us something about what matters to us. Negative emotions have value, but it’s the weight we allow them and the headspace they will consume that we must question and resist.

Don’t Insist on Being Positive—Allowing Negative Emotions Has Much to Teach Us – Whitney Goodman

5) Spring – ‘Nuff said really. Days getting longer and warmer. Flowers. Short sleeves. Strawberries. Fishing.

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That’s my 5 faves for this week. Gleaned from a much longer list of finds that I didn’t write about over the last several weeks (including my beloved “Best of” Christmas Ad videos). Thanks for stopping by. Talk to us in the Comments if you have the time. Blessings always.

Bonuses:

6 Ways to Tap Into Nostalgia – And What You Should – Mental Health Benefits

Photo Credit: Kristin Pratt, Facebook

Can’t Stop the Feeling – still love this song and its covers (especially the one HomeFree does):

[One of my favorite collaborations Nathan has done. Sweet memory.]
[Start at 3:54 for a stadium sing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in tribute of Liverpool F.C. – Goosebumps!]
Photo Credit: Facebook, To Save a Life

Monday Morning Moment – a Principled Life

Photo Credit: Boltgroup

Recently a conversation with a young friend drew me to the idea of “a principled life”. She recalled a comment a friend of hers made about this friend’s life, something along the lines of how remarkably principled her life was. As if that was an odd thing. Unusual. Commendable but on an altogether different plane.

We were both surprised at this. Doesn’t reaching adulthood come with the establishing of certain principles for living? Those attitudes and actions that define us as people.

In our family, we often have conversations around the dinner table about how we engage with people, especially those who are challenging, demanding, and even uncaring. It makes sense, at some level, to distance ourselves from such folks, put walls between us and them, and not be drawn into their neediness or manipulation.

The question for me, however, in such situations, is “what kind of person do I want to be?” Is another’s behavior going to change the way I want to show up in relationships? Is another’s character going to move me to change my own?

Thus the thinking about a principled life. What does that look like for each of us? What does that look like to our children and grandchildren?

Now, we derive our principles from varied sources. Some from our parents. Some from teachers or mentors. Some from classical literature, history, or sacred texts. Some of our principles (whether we consciously acknowledge it or not) may even come from movie quotes and characters. Below you will see some examples of principles.

Ex-heroin addict and neuroscientist Brian Pennie PhD writes and speaks regularly on this topic:

“Principles are fundamental truths that are universal in nature.”Brian Pennie

“Values are beliefs, attitudes and standards of behaviour about what’s important in life. They are also subjective and may change over time.” – Brian Pennie

“Unlike values which are subjective, principles are fundamental truths that are permanent, unchanging, and universal in nature.”Brian Pennie

[Values and principles can often be seen used interchangeably, as in the graphic below.]

Photo Credit: Slideshare, Sean Covey

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens – Sean Covey – PowerPoint Presentation – Slideshare

A principled life is one that demonstrates a foundation and follow-through of certain truths consistent with how a person thinks and behaves – living life with intention not in reaction.

Principles are action-oriented (see below as an example).

Photo Credit: Happiness Collective

Principles form a life compass. Brian Pennie writes:
“Through my own suffering and aimless behavior [during those days as a young drug addict], I developed a technique based on values and principles. I call it my life compass, and use it whenever I feel anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated; or any negative state for that matter. In other words, I use it when I’m not aligned with my values.

The aim is to develop a set of principles that will guide your actions when life gets tough. Note that values direct you towards what’s important in life, while principles are actionable and always result in outcomes.

Below is a list of my own values, and several of the principles I’ve developed to keep me on the path.”

Photo Credit: Thrive Global, Brian Pennie

For me, a principled life aligns with the life of Jesus. Albeit imperfectly, given my human tendency to serve self. The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Roman church about “the marks of a Christian life”:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21

That is a principled life.

[What are your thoughts as to the guiding principles of your life? What are you modeling for your family, friends, colleagues – just by showing up? What do people count on you for? What are you intentionally teaching to your children/grandchildren? Would love to hear about these in the Comments section. Thanks for stopping by.]

How to Live by Life Principles That Matter

30 Life Principles – Dr. Charles F. Stanley

10 Principles of Life

Seven Basic Principles That Govern our Personal Lives and Relationships – Vatican in Exile

How to Find Meaning and Direction in Life – Brian Pennie

YouTube Video – My talk from Pendulum 2024: How to Find Your True North – A Guidance System for Life – Brian Pennie Ph.D.

Monday Morning Moment – Hall-of-Famers and What Makes Them So

[One of the W-3 Huddles – staff retreat for Holston Valley Hospital’s W-3 cancer nurses]

What is it that distinguishes an individual or group and sets them apart from all the rest?

I’ve had the privilege of working with such folks from time to time through my life. In the late 80s-early 90s, it was a group of nurses in Kingsport, Tennessee. We had moved there as young marrieds after Dave finished his Ph.D. for him to start work as a research chemist at Tennessee Eastman Chemical Company. I left my job as professor in the nursing program at Yale University to find my way into a tight medical community. People were kind, but it would take awhile for me to prove that I had something to offer.

The nurses on 3rd Floor Wilcox Hall of Holston Valley Hospital, in those days, were a rare collection of capable and caring women. We all know the adage about working smarter, not harder. They worked both smart and hard. I was honored just to help in whatever way I could as they shouldered heavy patient loads with stressed families to care for as well.

They were funny, scrappy, no-nonsense, determined, and loving. It’s been almost 30 years since our days together, but I will never forget them (and others of whom I don’t have pictures).

L to R: Nurses – Nan Ritchie, Kay Mitchell, Debbie Seymore Shields, Chris Blue

Just this weekend, I was on a long, refreshing phone conversation with Kay Mitchell. She, Kathy Visneski, and I worked closely together during those W-3 days. Kay was nurse manager, Kathy a nurse educator, and I was clinical nurse specialist. We dreamed, planned, and executed programming, support, and training for some of the best nurses we would ever know.

Kathy and I led a support group for cancer survivors and their families. Part of its success was the trust these folks had in the care they received during the times when the cancer was new and raw, and for some, when it would finally take them. The W-3 nurses would be wholly there for them in every season.

[in conversation during Take Time…to Help to Heal cancer support group]
[an activity from the Take Time…to Help to Heal support group]

Love Your Neighbor – Cancer Support – How It’s Done Well – Deb Mills

In our phone call, Kay told me a story. A few months back she had a knee replacement surgery. Years of nursing, like with many professions, are hard on our knees. As she was “ambulated” – being walked in the hall shortly after surgery, she was in the company of nursing friends who’d come to see her. Friends from the era we shared. Like Kay, they had gotten older (it is odd how we get older but still, with each other, feel the full vigor of life shared in the workplace). It must have been a sight, this nurse “patient” and her friends filling the hall, walking slowly together, in conversation and encouragement. A physical therapist observing them captured the scene with the word, “Hall-of-Famers”. These women who were known and, as it should be, revered.

Kathy Visneski & Dr. Chip Helms, Radiation Oncologist
L to R: Nurses Chris Blue, Ruth Couch, Kathy Visneski, Volunteer Sherry Weaver
Amy Thacker, Chemo Nurse
Sherri Rogers, Nurse Manager

So how do people become “hall-of-famers”? What made these women…and other men and women like them…notable? Remembered with tremendous fondness and honor.

Here’s what I think. It was their servant leadership. Whether staff nurses or nurse managers, they led with excellence and a serving heart.

The phrase “servant leadership” is not new, but it is more than just a prescriptive or descriptive style of leading. Such a leader, as described by Collins and Collins, is “‘compelled by an unshakeable desire to serve’. Leaders who lack that core belief are not servant leaders but rather using servant leadership practices among the many in their toolkits. Notice we are not describing a servant but a servant leader. Servants generally don’t have a choice, but a servant leader, through humility, chooses to put others first…Leaders who do this well focus on where they can bring the most value to others…When we see someone step up in a difficult situation despite the probability of failure and commit themselves wholly because it is the right thing to do, we are more likely to join with them for the long journey. The unconditional nature of serving may be the most defining quality”..of these women.

“I saw this picture today that captured so well the amazing nurse Chris Blue. I was so blessed to have had the best role models as nurses! Chris Blue, Nan Ritchie, Joan Bishop, Jane Faries, Evelyn Parker, Kathy Visneski, Deb Mills, Amy Thacker, Ruth Couch, and Cynthia Wright to name a few. This picture captures the care we provided on good ole W3! Beyond blessed. So glad my roots are strong that started with this group. Brought back some amazing memories!”Teresa Bailey, 2020
Teresa Bailey

Hall-of-famers. Steadfast. Hard-working. Resilient. Intelligent. Caring. Full of life and love.

Who are the hall-of-famers in your life? Maybe you share your workload with some of these wonders. Please comment, if you’d like, about your experience with hall-of-famers. Maybe you are one…or on your way to becoming one. Thank you.

[A note I sent to our nurses and other cancer nurses in the region in 1994, the year we left East Tennessee]
Kathy, me, and Kay…some years later.

Monday Morning Moment – 5 P’s of Productivity – You’ll Be Surprised

Photo Credit: Chris Bailey – YouTube

Productivity – it seems so elusive. Maybe not for you. You’ve figured it out. If success in productivity flows out of thinking about it, I’ve thought about it more than you can imagine…so many blogs on it.

Some years ago, Chris Bailey, a young productivity guru, came on my radar. He wrote this super practical guide 100 Time, Energy, and Attention Hacks to Be More Productive. It is organized in such a way that the reader can choose what parts of their day/life they want to change. He continues to write and podcast. You can find various videos with his coaching highlighted.

He helped me get jump-started, but I’m far from that focused productivity that could seriously change up my life. Still, I chip away at it. Why? To what end? The P’s below inspire me to keep at it. How about you?

1) Possibilities – Earlier today, I was walking with a friend of mine who is diving into the natural arts – gardening, canning, grinding wheat for bread, etc. I admire her and yet am overwhelmed by the effort she puts into her craft. Then she retorted, “Well, I’m not pouring into Afghan refugees.” Thanks for that. We may all have different goals, but the possibilities abound when we recapture the time, attention, and energy we need to meet and even surpass those goals. What would you love to accomplish…if only?

Monday Morning Moment – Notes on Chris Bailey’s Life of Productivity – Deb Mills

CNLP 558: John Lee Dumas on How to Work Less and Make More Money, The #1 Way to Make an Impact Online Today, And How He Grew Entrepreneur On Fire to 140 Million Downloads – Carey Nieuwhof Podcast

2) Practices – A favorite old proverb of ours goes like this: “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” (Proverbs 14:4). Canadian writer Tim Challies presents this proverb as a parable on productivity. That “much increase” can be enhanced by having the right tools (oxen, for instance). However, given the right tools, productivity can still be very messy. Hard to perfectly control, thus, cycling back, needing the best tools for the job. Sometimes those tools are people in our lives and workplace, and sometimes they are lists, schedules, apps, or right equipment.

It’s not working harder, and not even just working smarter, whatever that means. It’s the beautiful grind of habit formation. It’s the development of spiritual disciplines that become life-long practices. We are never too young to begin establishing such.

I make my bed every morning.

It’s a small thing but it lifts my heart. This is done and it’s beautiful.

Lately I have also begun going to bed with my phone out of reach. That means, on waking, it is still out of reach. My thoughts then are my own…not someone else’s I begin taking in, and 30 minutes later find myself still scrolling. Sheesh!

There are other practices I’m incorporating into my daily life…but for this moment, I leave you with the experts.

Photo Credit: Tim Challies, How to Get Things Done

Putting On the Brakes: A Review of John Mark Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry – Dawn Berkelaar

Series: How to Get Things Done – Tim Challies

Monday Morning Moment – Flipping COVID Lethargy into a Larger Life Productivity – Tim Challies – Deb Mills

Photo Credit: James Clear

3) Product – As you begin habit formation, such that you are able to redeem more time, more attention, and more energy, product then begins to be impacted. What is your product? Your goal? Are you beginning to see the weight loss, your writing becoming more thoughtful, your shelves filling with wholesome canned food, your personnel engaged, your work goals realized, your college degree on the horizon?

Photo Credit: Andrea Lane, Redbooth

4) Purpose – What is the purpose for your going after your goals? If the habits you are forming are in conflict with other goals in your life, then you may need to reexamine your purpose. The “why” of your efforts. Are top performance and lifetime achievement the same or is there enough difference that you need to reevaluate? Something to consider on a regular basis. What is your purpose for all this? [See the Carey Nieuwhof podcast with Jon Acuff below – gold!]

Episode 596: Jon Acuff on The Difference Between High Performers and High Achievers, How to Make a Goal and Guarantee a Goal, and the Problem of False Humility In the Church – Carey Nieuwhof Podcast

5) People – Chris Bailey did an experiment earlier this year. He made the observation that smartphones are actually robbing us of productivity among other things (mental health, sleep, intimacy, focus…I could go on).

He decided to “come off” his smartphone (iPhone to be specific) for one month. After switching to a flip-phone, it took Chris a week to adjust to the under-stimulation of his device. Then something happened that forced him to ditch the experiment altogether before the month was over.

[5 Lessons that Chris Bailey Learned from Ditching His Smartphone for a Month – condensed version of Chris Bailey’s blog on the topic]

A cherished family member got cancer and was doing treatment updates via group iMessaging. Chris became aware that he was missing some of the messages and, in fact, his wife had begun answering for both of them. He family and friends simply began messaging solely with her, leaving him out of the circle altogether.

Being connected with people, in the way they were all accustomed, was disrupted. Face-to-face was consummately better, but he would take phone connection over no connection.

“…while modern communication methods are shallow, at the end of the day, the smartphone is how I am able to communicate with those I love in the modern world. And I love them. So I will continue to go where they are, to these lamely shallow apps that are no richer than a shadow, especially when compared to the vivid, textured reality of deep, joyous time with another human being, in real life. Maybe over coffee, maybe over drinks, maybe at a beach somewhere. Honestly, wherever—I don’t really care. As long as it’s in person.

At this point, we’re stuck with smartphones, especially considering how intertwined they are with how we communicate. Technology will continue to advance as smartphone innovation continues to plateau, and eventually, something else will take the smartphone’s place.

I look forward to this day, and hope that whatever replaces the phone doesn’t come with its own tradeoffs for our mental health and overall well-being.

The key, though, while the smartphone is with us, is to find ways to limit its downsides while making how we communicate richer.Chris Bailey

The moral of this story: don’t leave your people in the dust in the pursuit of wild wonderful goals.

In becoming more productive, do we pour that gained time, attention, and energy back into the work, skillset, hobby, or recreation? Or do we pour it into people?

As I look again at habit formation and goal-setting with these 5 P’s in view, what my hope for center stage of life is “Love God…love people.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus, Luke 10:27

This is what inspires me to do the work of becoming more productive.

Monday Morning Moment – Focus – This Won’t Take Long – Deb Mills

50 Productivity Tips to Help You Finally Get Ahead – Infographic

Photo Credit: Productive and Free

Monday Morning Moment – Raising Adults – Part 2 – Creating a Culture of Serving – Revisited

Photo Credit: Summit Kids Academy

[Adapted from my presentation at a home-school conference – Part 1 on Raising Adults with the focus on work and responsibility can be found here.]

One of the most challenging tasks a parent has is to teach a small child how to be deferential – to respectfully give way to another, to put another first. Whew! This is a hard one. It’s not just about helping a child understand sharing. It’s our demonstrating and them seeing the value of people and taking hold of how we can serve or help them, no matter our age. Not for any reward for ourselves but just because others matter.

The battles of will that communicate “Me, me!” or “Mine, mine!” can wear us out – both parent and child.

In Part 1, we talked about work and kids’ discovery that they can make a difference. Work and exercising responsibility are their own reward. Often there is compensation, but work is a head issue – a decision made to insert ourselves into a situation for the good of all (both the worker and the larger community).

Serving is a heart issue. In the role of the server, we do ultimately benefit, but the whole focus is on the one served. Serving, by its nature, requires sacrifice, sometimes small but, even for a child, it can be substantial.

Before we dive in, let’s pray to wrap our own hearts around this. [I’m coming at this as a Christian, but this, by no means, lessens the import for those who don’t believe. The wisdom of raising adults to serve stands.]

 “Father, we want to be wholly Yours. Whatever You ask of us…we want to be ready and willing. Not only to be laborers in the Harvest, but to serve with the same heart and mind that Jesus had while He walked this earth. Humble, loving, deferential to others. A servant heart, a mind bent toward You, God, a body and life laid-down in love for others. We want to be responsible and to do good work. Teach us to take our hearts even higher…or lower as the case may be…to serve as Jesus did, in Your abundant grace. In His name. Amen.”

When we model and teach work, the mindset or worldview we communicate to our children is “Get it done and done well”. In action and attitude.

In serving, one distinctive might be the military acronym: ABCD – Above & Beyond the Call of Duty.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:5-8

He has shown you, O mankind, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

What if, along with leading our children to be responsible, we created a culture of serving? What would our homes be like if our kiddos embraced serving as a good thing and something they were capable of? And not just for a jelly bean or a favorite TV show.

Photo Credit: Caring For Our Generations

Lisa Jacobson, author, encourager and mother of 8 has a lot to say about her own experience of creating a culture of serving:

I did things right. The way things should be done. Oh, and, of course, I was serving my family all the while. I was the sacrificial mom who cooked, laundered, and cleaned up after everyone. Most every job was done by me.

And, as a ‘shining model’ of service, I figured my children would eventually follow my example. It was obvious that I worked hard and did my best to please our family. So wouldn’t they just naturally follow in my footsteps? More is caught than taught, right? But you know something? They didn’t catch on like I thought they would. They really enjoyed being served…and it kind of stopped there. I was a good giver. They were good takers.” Lisa Jacobson

She then discovered how to teach her children the joy of serving others:

  • Start by letting them work [serve] alongside you.
  • Teach your children to notice what needs to be done. [This one point is so worth your time reading thus far – both in working & serving – guiding our children to see, for themselves, what needs to be done. It’s a strong beginning to winning their hearts.]
  • Let them enjoy helping out.
  • Instruct them in how they can be a help to you [and others].
  • Cheer them on as they learn to serve.

Teaching Our Children the Joy of Serving Others – Lisa Jacobson

Photo Credit: Intentional by Grace

“God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” – Martin Luther

Author, educator, and pastor Andy Crouch writes about our callings in life. He is speaking to Christians, but these would richly apply to anyone who believes in God as Creator.

Our three callings*:

  • To bear the image of God. [“Be fruitful & multiply.” Our human calling is inextricably linked with the family where we first found our name, language, identity, and home.]
  • To restore the image of God. [Our distinctive calling as Christians is to actively seek out the places where that image has been lost, to place ourselves at particular risk on behalf of the victims of idolatry and injustice. So in every workplace, Christians should be those who speak up most quickly, and sacrifice their own privileges most readily, for those whose image-bearing has been compromised by that organization’s patterns of neglect. In every society, Christians should be the most active in using their talents on behalf of those the society considers marginal or unworthy. In every place where the gospel isn’t known, Christians should be finding ways to proclaim Jesus as the world’s true Lord and “the image of the invisible God.”]
  • To make the most of today (contingent calling). [If you get the first two right, the third is practically an afterthought. Your third calling is your contingent calling: to make the most of today, while it is called today. “Contingent” is a word used to describe something that could be otherwise—in that sense, it’s the opposite of necessary. It’s also used to describe something that depends on something else—in that sense, it’s the opposite of independent. You are in some particular place today—maybe at school, maybe on a bus, maybe in a workplace, maybe at home. And you are there with certain resources—memory, energy, reason, attention, skill. All these are contingent. It is God within these that we must learn to discern and then serve as He leads.

[Heady topics for a 2 y/o maybe…but highly teachable concepts, as well…how would we teach and model these three callings to our little ones?]

“There is one topic that I’m extremely interested in that the writers of Scripture do not seem interested in at all—and that topic is, actually, me. I am quite interested in the expressive individual that I call me—but Scripture turns out not to be interested in me hardly at all. It is somewhat more interested in me as a member of a community, connected to one of the “nations” of the earth—but really, what Scripture is interested in is God, God’s mission in the world, God’s commissioning of a people, and God’s gracious invitation to me to stop being so interested in me and start being absolutely fascinated by [Him and] his mission.Andy Crouch

*The Three Callings of a Christian – Andy Crouch

How do we cultivate a culture of serving in our home, community – for ourselves and our children? What are you doing? What do you dream of doing? Please share in Comments below. Thanks.

As with work, so with service, we not only model but insure our children have the opportunity to contribute what only they can do – for others…whether operating out of their strengths or their weaknesses.

Looking back, I don’t think we were intentional in creating a culture of serving in our home during our kids’ childhood. It was just “easier to do it myself”, right? They had so little time, between schoolwork and their other “just being children/youth” activities. There were moments, however, bright and shining…teachable moments where they did see how serving mattered…especially when they (at whatever age) showed up to serve. Now I hope to come alongside our grown-up children to model and teach serving to the grands. In fact, it is already a reality – seeing our kids, as adults, discovering the deep joy of serving others, pushing through the awkward strain to pull back or be less present, putting others ahead of themselves.

[Nathan helping dear Mrs. Marge…many years ago.]
Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

Parents, Take Note of the Spiritual Practices Common to Kids Who Flourish As Adults – Trevin Wax